So in the end ‘Arry got what he wanted, though his thoughts on if he wanted Spurs to go through or not seemed to shift throughout the game.
At the start it seems he picked a side that was full of left footers, don’t know if I’ve seen so many left-footed players in Spurs shirts at one time, hell I probably haven’t seen that many over my whole life. Anyway it looked like a case of just sticking some blokes out there and fulfil the fixture. It certainly wasn’t working to get those 6 goals required.
Benny, after a dodgy game at the weekend, found himself at right. He ain’t a right back, far too one footed, he certainly wasn’t helped by the left-footed Townsend being ahead of him, as they both turned inside. On the left was Pienaar, who knows what foot he favours, he’s equally inept with both.
So it was meandering alone in an aimless fashion, certainly didn’t look like that goal difference was going to be overturned. Things changed for the better when Townsend shifted wing. Pienaar moved inside, wow, though it did lead, finally after half an hour, to the opening goal which the South African provided with a deflected shot. At this time Rubin were one down to PAOK as well as being down to 10 men, so things were looking on the up. Surely PAOK could do Spurs a favour from here. Though in reality it should have been one each as Shamrock had a good goal chalked off by a bad offside decision.
Ten minutes later the score was doubled when Townsend scored a pretty good one with a first time shot, curled inside the far post from the left. Townsend then made the third just before the break as his cross from the left found Defoe in the 6 yard area who found a defender with his shot. We were told at the break that’s what Defoe does,
finds the back of the net,
scores goals. When in reality he more often than not does what he did here, hit something other than the net, yes it ended up in a goal but if he hit the net as regularly as he hits ‘keeper, defenders and the woodwork he would be this marksman, best finisher in the land, pundits keep telling you.
So half that goal difference wiped out by the break, PAOK still holding, things looking up even if it was pretty substandard stuff against a very limited side. Pienaar useless, Giovani was he trying to prove something, probably, just can’t figure out if he was trying to prove how good or how bad he is. Kranjcar, coming back from injury hasn’t played a lot but just didn’t seem interested, some nice touches, some lovely touches but more an air if indifference.
Only problem was PAOK decided Rubin could equalise and everything else was rendered irrelevant though it didn’t really matter in the end as Spurs couldn’t add to the goal tally until things were pretty much over and one with as Harry Kane opened his Spurs’ account. Nice nod back from Townsend, again involved, and Kane finishes from close range.
A few minutes before that the one player I wanted to see start, Iago Falque, finally came on and immediately nearly made a difference, with a few shots, one off the woodwork – how Defoeish. In a situation like this, poorish opposition defending deep, he’s the kind of player that can create something, give it a bit of life and far worthier of a place than say dos Santos or Pienaar. Though maybe for the former it the club was using the game as a shop window. The latter, well god only knows.
Oh and the incident when
Livermore hauled down Karl Sheppard, Livermore was caught out and was all over the Shamrock player but it looks like I saw it as the ref did. When you see it from behind the goal the ball goes one way as Sheppard launches himself the other way straight into Livermore. Play on. Right decision. Unlike the linesman who ruled for an offside when Cudicini gave away what should have been a penalty.
A lacklustre way to go out of Europe but in the end it’s what ‘Arry really wanted as soon as they
qualified for it in the first place, even if he looked and acted like he wanted to be in the draw for the next round at times.